The latest export figures show the first six months of the Korea-New Zealand free trade agreement has been positive for businesses.

New Zealand’s overall exports to Korea in the first half of 2016 are up 3% from a year earlier in New Zealand dollar terms.

The food and beverage sector is driving that growth with a 14% improvement from the same period last year.  Meat product exports are up 11%, wine 29%, deer velvet 125%, and cherries 220% on the back of going duty free on entry-into-force of the FTA on 20 December.

Forestry products were another strong early performer – up 28% to nearly $200 million making Korea New Zealand’s second-largest forestry market.

Meanwhile, Korea’s imports to New Zealand in the same period are up by 25% meaning Korean businesses are also benefiting.

These outcomes are particularly good against a backdrop of Korea’s imports and exports with the rest of the world declining during the same period.

On the back of the FTA, New Zealand food and beverage exporters have been actively promoting their products in the Korean market this year.

Beef+Lamb NZ’s three-time ambassador-chef Scott Kennedy took time away from running his famed Palmerston North restaurant to visit Korea in June to introduce cooking techniques and recipes for New Zealand’s grass-fed beef to guests in both Seoul and Jeju.

Around 400 people turned out in both Seoul and Busan for the Kiwi Chamber’s NZ Wine Festival events.  In the sun-bathed gardens of the Grand Hyatt in Seoul guests spent the afternoon sampling a range of duty-free wines from more than 20 New Zealand vineyards as well as some New Zealand beer and ice-cream.

And Ambassador Clare Fearnley joined models at the Residence showcasing the start of this season’s Zespri gold and green kiwifruit which are also available at reduced prices this year because of the FTA.